Engineering, in any sector, is already a complicated endeavor, but with the help of disruptive technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the tasks that engineers must undertake is getting less arduous.

For humans, change is innately difficult. This becomes even more contentious when that change involves replacing human beings with machines, but in some instances, it’s not a matter of replacing current tasks, but enhancing them with the help of humans.

In the case of engineering, AI and machine learning are helping to improve processes and provide engineers with capabilities they may not have had prior to disruptive technological advances.

“Artificial intelligence that’s used in the engineering sector uses software and hardware components. As machines become more sophisticated, they will be able to support not only smart production lines and complex manufacturing tasks, but will also be able to design and improve tasks over time—with little or no human intervention—through machine learning,” wrote Bernard Marr in Forbes. “Robots have been used by automobile manufacturers on the production line for quite some time and have gone from completing simple engineering tasks to now handling many precision moves required for some of the most intricate parts of the process.”

“Many of the tasks engineers are responsible for, such as design and simulation, can be enhanced with the support of artificial intelligence tools,” Marr wrote. “Consider how Computer Aided Design (CAD) was once just a supplemental tool to engineering, and today it is a fundamental part of the daily workflow. These tools will help improve the capabilities of engineers and make it possible to explore design and weight-saving options that weren’t ever possible before.”

How ETF Investors Can Benefit

As engineering processes are improved, this will have a top-down benefit for any company regardless of what sector they operate. As such, investors looking for a broad ETF play in disruptive technology can look at the ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEArca: ARKK). The actively-managed ETF seeks to provide investors with:

  • Exposure to Innovation: Aims for thematic multi-cap exposure to innovation across sectors. ARK believes the securities held in ARKK present the best risk-reward opportunities from ARK’s innovation-based themes.
  • Growth Potential: Aims to capture long-term alpha+ with low correlation of relative returns to traditional growth strategies and negative correlation to value strategies.
  • Diversification: Offers a tool for diversification due to little overlap with traditional indices. It can be a complement to traditional value/growth strategies.
  • Research: Combines top-down and bottom-up research in its portfolio management to identify innovative companies and convergence across markets.
  • Cost Effectiveness: Provides a lower cost alternative to mutual funds with true active management in an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that invests in rapidly moving themes.

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